Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham

Originally posted 2016-09-03 12:00:14.

I hesitated to watch Girls for a long, long time, primarily due to an innate distrust towards Lena Dunham. As soon as I saw that she was billed as the writer, creator, director, producer, star, key grip, caterer, and every other credit-worthy action known to man, I just didn’t like her. I gave in and watched Girls, and I loved it. Perhaps I had unfairly misjudged this poor woman. This remorse led to my regretful reading of Not That Kind of Girl, in which all of my assumptions towards Ms. Dunham were proven several times over.

It’s not that the book is bad. For all intents and purposes, it is well-written, witty, and entertaining. While I enjoyed the overall experience of the book, it still left me with a bad taste in my mouth. In Girls, Dunham’s character Hannah is accused of (and admits to) seeking out certain experiences purely for the sake of gaining new writing material. Much of Not That Kind of Girl has that feel to it. In fact, Dunham and Hannah are virtually interchangeable, with the noteworthy exception that the traits that are amusing on the fictional doppelganger are far less flattering on the actual woman.

For instance, Dunham’s frequent discussions of her sexual exploits are intended to come across as raw and brazen, but are actually more trashy and attention-seeking. Moreover, ideas that start out as funny are overused to the point that they are just annoying. “Platonic bed sharing” made me chuckle, until it went on for what seemed like 362 pages. Similarly, the book is filled with exhaustive lists that quickly grow stale because Dunham doesn’t know when to stop. Here is a list of some of the lists:

Lists of people it’s OK to sleep with

Lists of people it’s not OK to sleep with

Lists of calorie counts

Lists of unwritten emails

Lists of flirtatious phrases

This list of unending lists could go on and on. That’s the problem. Well, that and the fact that the book is full of regurgitated stories that were already adapted for Girls and are now simply being re-adapted for additional revenue. Dunham needs to quit while she’s ahead; if she did, Not That Kind of Girl would have been wholly enjoyable instead of merely tolerable. Sorry, Lena Dunham, but I still don’t like you. I really do like Hannah, though.

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